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What are crypto whales and how can you spot them?

By Solomon Victor

Let’s dive into the world of crypto whales and discover the art of spotting their monumental moves in the cryptocurrency sea.

Crypto Whales

In the world of cryptocurrencies, a “whale” is a term borrowed from the oceans, referring to individuals or entities holding a substantial amount of a particular cryptocurrency. These crypto whales possess the power to sway the market due to their formidable holdings. Whenever a crypto whale makes a move, it often sends ripple effects or waves across the crypto market. 

The specific criteria for earning the title of a “whale” can vary among different cryptocurrencies. For instance, in the realm of Bitcoin, a whale may be an individual or entity clutching a significant portion of the total supply, such as 1,000 BTC or more. In the world of altcoins, the criteria can differ dramatically, given the wide range of supply and distribution dynamics. Some believe that a whale must have at least 10% ownership of a given cryptocurrency or at least $10million worth of the cryptocurrency. 

Crypto whales encompass a diverse group that includes individual investors, institutional players, crypto funds, and cryptocurrency exchanges. These individuals and entities accumulate their digital treasures through a variety of strategies, which might include mining, participating in initial coin offerings (ICOs), or engaging in over-the-counter (OTC) trading. They are, of course, capable of swaying or manipulating the crypto market. This is why other players in the crypto space monitor whales closely. Failure to do so may potentially put one’s crypto investment at great risk.

Read also: What is cryptocurrency?

The Impact of Crypto Whales on Prices

Crypto whales are like silent giants beneath the surface of the cryptocurrency ocean. Their movements have the power to send ripples across the market that can set waves in motion, profoundly affecting the prices of cryptocurrencies. Their influence is not to be underestimated because when these whales decide to make a move, it can be both far-reaching and unexpected. 

Crypto whales have a lot of cryptocurrency, and that gives them a lot of power. They can make prices go up by buying a ton of crypto or make prices drop by selling it strategically. When a whale makes a move, it can evoke emotions like FOMO (fear of missing out) whenever these crypto wales are buying or FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) whenever they are selling. Either way, retail investors who are not whales are highly affected, further amplifying the price impact. 

Therefore, understanding the role of crypto whales in shaping market dynamics is essential for any cryptocurrency enthusiast or investor seeking to navigate the volatile waters of the crypto market successfully.

Recent findings in a report by Henley and Partners have illuminated the thriving world of crypto whales. The report unveiled a staggering count of 88,200 crypto whales globally, showcasing the substantial presence of these influential individuals in the cryptocurrency realm. Astonishingly, nearly half of these whales are dedicated holders of bitcoin (BTC), numbering around 40,500, despite the recent roller-coaster of price fluctuations. What’s more, the report highlights the expansive reach of the crypto community, with over 425 million users worldwide, among whom 210 million proudly bear the badge of BTC holders. Interestingly, the report reveals that only 182 individuals can claim the title of “centi-millionaires” with digital assets worth over $100 million. These figures underscore the significant impact and diversity of the crypto landscape, reflecting the enduring appeal and wealth accrued within the world of cryptocurrencies.

Diving deep into the Bitcoin sea, individuals and entities holding more than 10,000 BTC control only 110 wallets and own 15.35 percent of bitcoins. Also, only 3.42% hold more than 100,000 BTC. This is according to data of May 2023 from BitInfoCharts.

How to Spot a Crypto Whale

Intriguing as they are, crypto whales often prefer to remain anonymous, making them elusive targets. However, as savvy sailors of the crypto seas, there are certain techniques and indicators that can guide us in spotting their presence.

The following platforms and websites are places where activities of whales can be tracked:

1. WhaleAlert

WhaleAlert is a popular website and Twitter account dedicated to tracking large cryptocurrency transactions in real-time. They provide alerts for significant movements of cryptocurrencies across various blockchains.

2. BscScan

BscScan is a blockchain explorer for the Binance Smart Chain. It allows you to explore transactions, addresses, and token movements on the Binance Smart Chain, making it useful for tracking whale activity on this blockchain.

3. EtherScan

EtherScan is one of the most widely used blockchain explorers for the Ethereum network. It provides comprehensive data on Ethereum transactions, addresses, and token transfers, which can be helpful for tracking Ethereum whale activity.

4. Bitcoin Block Explorer: 

For tracking whale activity on the Bitcoin blockchain, you can use various Bitcoin block explorers like or These platforms offer insights into Bitcoin transactions and wallet addresses.

5. Crypto Exchanges

Many cryptocurrency exchanges provide real-time order book data, which can help you identify large buy or sell orders that may indicate whale activity. Popular exchanges like Binance, Coinbase Pro, and Kraken offer such features.
Websites: Binance, KuCoin, Kraken. 

6. Crypto News Websites

Some cryptocurrency news websites and forums often report on notable whale transactions or movements. Websites like CoinDesk, CoinTelegraph can be good sources of information, as well as CAB.

Read also: What are the top 5 centralized crypto exchanges you should know?

The Biggest Crypto Whales Spotted

Crypto whales can be stabilizing forces or disruptive forces in the crypto sea, depending on the level of loyalty they individually and collectively have to the crypto assets they each hold. Below are just 6 crypto whales you should know and keep and eye on:

1. Satoshi Nakamoto: Inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto—a man, woman, or a group, holds one million BTC as of May 2023, i.e over $26billion.

2. Brian Armstrong: The CEO of Coinbase, one of the biggest centralized crypto exchanges in the world, once disclosed that his company owns 2 million BTCs, totaling $53 billion as of May 2023.

3. Michael Saylor: The executive chairman and a co-founder of MicroStrategy, he once disclosed in October 2020 that he personally holds 17,732 BTCs. As of May 2023, this bag amounts to $476 million.

4. Chris Larsen: The co-founder of several Silicon Valley tech startups, Chris Larsen is estimated to have a 17 percent stake in Ripple. This equates to at least 5.19 billion XRP. The dollar equivalent of this is $2.4 billion, as of May 2023.

5. Changpeng Zhao: The CEO of Binance, “CZ”, as he is popularly called, owns both Binance coin (BNB) and BTC, making up 95% of his wealth. CZ’s net worth is about $4.5 billion. This is after slumping from $65 billion before the crypto crash in December 2022.

6. Tim Draper: The Founding Partner of Draper Fisher Jurvetson,Tim Draper is a venture capitalist. He bought 30,000 BTC in 2014. As of May 2023, this is worth $806 million. Apart from his BTC bag, Draper is also known to be an investor in other crypto assets, including Aragon’s ANT tokens.


Navigating the crypto sea can be both thrilling and challenging for investors. Being aware of the presence and actions of crypto whales is a valuable skill for anyone involved in the cryptocurrency realm. By staying informed and vigilant, a crypto asset buyer can better navigate the volatile waters of this ever-evolving landscape. 

Read also: How do I manage investment risks in the crypto market?

Credit: Solomon Victor is a Technical Analyst who is also knowledgeable about various aspects of blockchain and cryptocurrency.